Eleonora Matveevna Ivanova Ivanova Eleonora Matveevna
President of MzhOO "Conversion and Women", Member of the Executive Committee of the Consulting Council of Non-Governmental Organizations attached to the Committee of State Duma for international affairs, Secretary of the Women's Issues Commission of the Chairman of Council of Russian Federation, Member of the American Academy of Business and Administration Leaders

"Women should be engaged in all the problems of the society and not just play the traditional role of a "nurse" although we do not reject it."

What do you think about different aspects of women's leadership in politics, social life and business in Russia today?

Frankly speaking, women are playing the remarkable and valuable role only in the social life. In politics and business, they are playing supporting roles. If you ask what do I think, how it should be, I am convinced that only gender equality might be the foundation for harmonious and civilized social development.

What is your opinion of the initiative "Vital Voices"?

Very positive. I would just wish that the initiative would not end up in "letting stream out", but on contrary that it would lead to serious positive changes concerning both the point of view itself and ways of its solution. I suppose that we need an international analytical center aimed at generalization of ideas, initiatives and practices of realization of goals of those initiatives. How to organize its functioning? Perhaps, we should make it virtual or to involve an international group of volunteers. We are already late with solving of the problem of gender equality; the 21st century is already here.

What is your personal or your organization's contribution to support and promotion of women?

Since I am working now in two different roles, the answer might be very broad. As leader of the public organization, I am working on promotion of well-educated women with good scientific and technical thinking to all levels of decision-making. Now we are working on the subject "Women's role in the policy of security".

Actuality of this subject is obvious.

  • Today's situation of Russia in the world and difficult home situation forces citizens to fear for their lives and for lives of their relatives;
  • Men alone are determining the policy of security in Russia and mostly women, children and elder are reaping the "fruits of this policy".
  • Increased tendency to solve the conflicts in different countries and at home by force;
  • The international tendency to ignore the international law;
  • Absence of Russian women on decision-making levels in the spheres of policy of security, peace preservation and strengthening, does not allow talking about building of the democratic society because "democracy without women does not exist".

What is lately happening in the world makes us to think about the further possible development of the situation. What preventive measures we could take in such a situation; what women could do in those and other situations; efficiency of those measures; general possibilities of influencing the processes on which the global and country security would depend - these are the questions we are asking ourselves today.

At the same time, when there are no exact definitions of many cases from the sphere of threat to security until now, the kinds of threats are changing, and they might be quite different in the 21st century. Terrorism, for example. This phenomenon of the 20th century can become one of the worst threats of the 21st century. It was until now under jurisdiction of special services. Was it efficiently enough? Where are the roots of all evil? What causes these and other phenomenon? How are we judging the world and taking appropriate decisions: just by one-dimensional judging of the male half of the mankind or by the volumetric one of men and women together? The question about the role of women in the social development is again on the schedule.

We made a considerable work on this path: we published the leaflet "Women in politics - Security in World and Country" (end of 1999, publishing house "Eslan") and the article "Approaches and Principles of the Policy of National and Global Security - Women's Look" (magazine "National Security and Geopolicy of Russia" N 6-7, 2000). We would be happy to fulfill the ideas we stated in this article, we are working in this direction, but we are in need of resources and support.

As Secretary of the Commission on women's issues attached to the Chairman of the Federation Council of Russia I am supporting promotion of gender equality on the level of cooperating with senators, because the Upper Chamber in the Russian Parliament is entirely consisting of men. Introduction of the gender expertise of the Russian legislation on Federal and regional levels is an integral part of our work and our main goal. For more information about our Commission's activities you can visit our website.

What is the target group of your support?

On the one hand, we have to do with women having higher education and working at the conversion enterprises. On the other hand, according to the recommendations of the Beijing Platform, renewed by the resolution of the Special 23rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization's (June, 2000), declared the equality of men and women in the 21st century - we are working on the improvement of women's status and achievement of gender equality with the third sector in general, with different power structures.

What actions could help the society to change existing stereotypes standing in the way of women's self-realization?

Education and active involvement into the social life. Women should be engaged in all the problems of the society and not just play the traditional role of a "nurse" although we do not reject it. National and global society is our home. We do care about its well-being and its future.

What is your view of the ways of involvement of women into political, economical and social life of the country?

Women's non-governmental organizations should educate actively and purposefully those, who are ready to work in this field with their sleeves rolled up. Figuratively speaking we should not dig in the ground putting the nose down but we should see and understand on what and with what we are working. However, we should not create illusions for ourselves as well. We could barely expect that many women would come to our movement - there are objective reasons for that. However, our main goal is to educate and enlighten while finding different new technologies (it would be very useful to exchange experience on that matter). We should understand as well, that this kind of work needs resources, including money income. That is where we need solidarity.

What forms of partnership are possible between women leaders of political and commercial structures and women's social initiatives?

I suppose that forms of partnership can vary and depend on concrete initiatives. It can be intellectual, financial or other resource support. We can talk about joint projects and programs also.